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Hearing delayed on Utah bill making it a crime to record conversations without consent

SALT LAKE CITY — The sponsor of a bill making it a crime to record conversations with someone without consent said Thursday he's asked that a hearing be delayed amid concerns being raised by various groups.

Rep. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, said he's surprised at the response HB330 has received and wants to talk more with the business community about the need for the bill.

Snow said he was asked to sponsor the legislation by the Salt Lake Chamber as "an issue that was important to the business community" to protect corporate interests, particularly when it comes to propriety information.

"But I'm not getting as much feedback as I thought that I would with respect to that support," he said. So Snow has asked the House Rules Committee not to assign the bill to a committee for a hearing to give the Salt Lake Chamber time to gather more information.

"I haven't killed the bill. I've essentially put it on hold," he said. "In the meantime, I've had a lot of other input from organizations," including lobbyists for the news media and attorneys.

Snow said he may bring together stakeholders, including the religious community, to discuss the bill.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement backing the measure when it was introduced Tuesday.

"Church representatives have spoken with legislators to express support for (HB330), which is intended to protect the confidentiality of sensitive private conversations, including those between ecclesiastical leaders and their members," according to LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins.

"In other states, business, legal, religious and law enforcement organizations have supported similar laws to safeguard confidential conversations for the same reasons."

Snow said it's "hard to say at this point" whether he will advance the bill this session or look to have the issue considered during the legislative interim. He said he wants to hear from the chamber first.

"I do feel strongly that there are some sensitive conversations or situations that would be well for us to look at whether or not those should receive this protection," he said. "It goes both ways."

Utah law currently allows a person to record a conversation without telling the other participants. There are 12 states that require all parties to give consent to a recording.